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Dhaka Tribune

Asus Zenbook Pro 14 Duo is an almost perfect laptop

As the user unfolds this laptop, an entire mechanism designed by Asus pushes the secondary screen up, enabling an inclined viewing angle

Update : 01 Mar 2023, 08:33 PM

When it comes to Windows laptops, we often look at the ones available at a price from Tk40,000-80,000. For anything above that, we take our eyes to either Desktop PCs or MacBooks. 

But the market for premium Windows laptops is growing each year, catering to the needs of consumers who need a powerful portable device capable of running full Windows, software like Premiere Pro and After Effects, and the vast collection of games available on the platform.

On January 18 this year, Asus unveiled four of its latest innovations. While the massive super-expensive folding laptop Zenbook 17 Fold was the primary focus of the event, Asus did bring three other devices at a comparatively lower price range, one of which is Zenbook Pro 14 Duo. 

14 Duo has two versions. One with an integrated Intel Iris Xe Graphics priced at Tk224,990 and another with a dedicated 4GB NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 graphics priced at Tk249,990.

The one with integrated Intel graphics has a 1TB SSD inside and the one with dedicated NVIDIA graphics has a 512GB SSD inside. 

In this review, we will look at what works and what could have been better. 

Design

The ZenBook Pro 14 Duo builds on the previous generations' design principles by providing a main display in the same location as the display on regular laptops, as well as a second half-size screen on top of the chassis, which forces the keyboard and trackpad to be pushed toward the front of the device.

While the design looks unique and clean with zero waste of space, it misses out on providing its users with a palm rest. But it shouldn't be a problem as long as you use the laptop on a spacious desk. 

The keyboard is very nice. It is surprising how Asus managed to offer such a typing experience on a keyboard this small. But they did pull it off. However, the trackpad needed to be shifted to the right side of the keyboard since there is no space left below. It may take some time getting used to. 

As the user unfolds this laptop, an entire mechanism designed by Asus pushes the secondary screen up, enabling an inclined viewing angle. I liked this design as it also allows additional heat to escape from the space created below the secondary screen. But it may also act as a safe haven for dust to build up inside your laptop, considering how dusty Dhaka city is. 

The power plug, card reader and HDMI connectors are all placed on the back of the laptop. On the right, there are USB-A and USB-C slots with Thunderbolt 4 support and the audio jack is on the left. 

The laptop is sturdy and easy to use from a practical standpoint. The display now extends back to about 160 degrees thanks to the revised hinges, making it more convenient to use on the lap. 

Additionally, I like how the status LEDs are on the right edge instead of the front. It may not sound like much, but those powerful LEDs would have been very distracting while using the laptop at night. 

Displays

The main display of the laptop is a 14.5-inch 16:10 2.8K OLED panel with 550 nits of advertised brightness. 

The display is absolutely gorgeous. The colours are very accurate and black is just plain black. We mostly see OLED panels being used in modern smartphones. But they work extremely well on laptops as well. I respect this decision Asus made to bring in more and more OLED panels in laptops of all price segments.

As for the secondary ScreenPad display, that's a 32:10 12.7-inch IPS touch panel in a matte anti-glare implementation.

Both displays go very well together. However, if you look at them long enough, you will eventually notice that one is OLED and another is LCD. Adjusting the brightness of both displays so that they appear the same seemed to be more difficult than I expected. 

The laptop comes with a backlit keyboard and I used it in a dark environment to see how it works out. 

While watching Netflix or writing something on the primary display at night with lights off, the secondary display seemed very distracting sometimes, even with the lowest brightness.

My suggestion to Asus would be to make the second panel also AMOLED for the next version. That way, we will be able to just add a black wallpaper and get it over with. 

Performance

With the 12th-generation Intel Core i7 processor inside, Zenbook Pro 14 Duo performed extraordinarily well. I did not witness any sort of lag during my regular usage. 

The laptop is mostly focused towards professional work. If you are a video editor, it will be a dream come true to be able to use the entire secondary display as your timeline while working on a laptop. 

Even if you want to just keep scrolling through your endless Facebook home page, you can do it by using the secondary display just as an extension of your main display. 

Asus put a secondary display, and you can use it as you prefer.

While the device is not made for gaming, games run quite smoothly on this laptop. I tried a handful of games including Genshin Impact and Witcher 3 and they performed moderately well. Do keep in mind that this is a laptop, not a PC. You have to make minor sacrifices while playing games no matter how powerful your laptop is. 

If you want to do some occasional gaming and edit videos on this laptop, I would recommend you get the one with dedicated NVIDIA graphics inside. While the laptop comes with 16GB RAM inside, you also have the option to upgrade it to 32 GB. You can keep it in your mind. 

Battery

The ZenBook Pro 14 Duo UX8402 series has a 76 Wh battery inside, which is more than usual for this class.

However, the laptop also needs to power up two 120Hz displays with a single battery. 

On average, the battery lasts for 3 to 4 hours in moderate usage that includes browsing, multimedia consumption and using some lightweight software like Microsoft Office.

Verdict

Asus Zenbook Pro 14 Duo is nearly perfect. 

The only drawback is the operating system, the recently released Windows 11, which is still buggy. 

Even with all the bugs from Microsoft's end, Asus Zenbook Pro 14 Duo performs extraordinarily well and it is definitely a laptop worth recommending. 


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